And you, my proud graduates. How many of you are in debt because of student loans. In other parts of the world, education is valued and so the people demand and the policy makers provide affordable higher education, within the average family's reach. Why not here? We do not have to have a 50% high school drop out rate, either.
But we will continue to get what I've described and worse if we continue to accept what we've been given. Frederick Douglass reminded us that power concedes nothing without a demand. What I want to tell you today is that you have the power to lodge a demand for a public policy result that will make our communities more prosperous and the world a safer place for us all. But understanding what our demands must be requires critical thinking and deep analysis of our current situation.
Sadly, even in this year of decision, however, these were not the issues that were put before you. And the reason is so that you will not lodge the demand. The organization of politics today, in combination with the media, is so that you won't put forward the correct demand that will result in public policy changes desperately needed in this country.
We've had two Presidential elections stolen from us and I'm asking everyone to remain alert to avoid a third. And in everything that you do, remember that you can make a difference wherever you are and that there's everything right with putting forward a demand.
While Bush celebrated the birth of Israel with a speech before the Knesset in Tel Aviv, on May 16th, 2008, Cynthia McKinney joined many others to speak at the al-Nakbah Commemoration in the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza before the United Nations in New York. al-Nakbah annually commemorates the tragedy of the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people by the state of Israel.
These are her remarks:
I hope by now it is clear. Our values will never be reflected in public policy as long as our political parties and our country remain hijacked.
Hijacked by false patriots who usurp the applause of the people and all the while betray our values.
I've decided that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans will operate any longer as business as usual -- not in my name.
That Democrats and Republicans will use my tax dollars and betray my values , not one day longer -- not in my name.
That neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have earned my most precious political asset -- my vote.
And that now is the time to do some things I've never done before in order to have some things I've never had before.
And so here today, I declare my independence from weapons transfers: including Apache Helicopters; F'16s; sidewinder, hellfire, and Stinger missiles.
I declare my independence from occupation, demolished homes, political prisoners, and babies dying at checkpoints.
I declare my independence from UN vetoes, expropriated land, stolen resources, and the installation of puppet regimes.
I declare my independence from all forms of dehumanization and am not afraid to speak truth to power.
Two Videos of ILWU May Day No Peace, No Work Rally, including Excerpts of Cynthia Speech Now Available
Bay Area Filmmaker Margot Smith has produced a tremendous 10-minute video with highlights of the ILWU March and rally on May Day. You can check this out on:
The video includes major excerpts from the rally speeches by Cynthia McKinney, Cindy Sheehan, Danny Glover, Michael Eisenscher (from US Labor Against the War) -- as well as leaders of ILWU Locals 10 and 34.
Thanks for Margot Smith for this great contribution.
And for another take on the day's activities, check out this video from Labor Video Project.
ILWU shuts down west coast ports to protest the war on May Day 2008. This video shows some of the speaker at the May Day rally initiated by the ILWU Local 10 and interviews longshore workers about what they are taking action against the war and on May Day 2008. Produced by the Labor Video Project P.O. Box 720027 San Francisco, CA 94172 (415)282-1908 email@example.com
It's a beautiful San Francisco day for a peace and dignity strike!
One day off to put peace and justice on the table! Today's action is as historically significant as the decision of four young university students who sat in for justice.
The strong, proud men and women of the ILWU have drawn a line in the sand. And I am proud of you!
By your actions here today, you too have declared your independence: from the policy makers now responsible for every bomb dropped, every child killed, every veteran maimed, every dream deferred.
Your line in the sand is a demand for public policy that reflects your values.
CNN even tells us in a feature story who suffers as a result of a choice made by our policy makers to emphasize ethanol as a preferred method of weaning a hulking, overfed economy off its petroleum-based consumption habit. But they forgot the other half of that equation: who's winning? And it's the "who's winning" part that is just about always the key piece of information, that could guide us, especially when the choices of our elected leadership diverge from the core values of the voters who elected them.
And yet, as we speak, the Mexican Senate Chamber has been occupied. The massive rally held today has probably just ended, and some of the oppositio n Members of the Mexican Congress are inside the building on the dais and have announced a hunger strike. Days ago, one of the leading papers in Mexico City had a photo of the Chamber of Deputies of the Mexican Congress with an unfurled banner covering the Speaker's Rostrum, proclaiming the Chamber "Closed." The banner was hung by elected Members of the Mexican Congress who constitute the Frente Amplio Progresista that has dared to draw a line in the sand against U.S.-inspired legislation just introduced to allow foreign corporate ownership of PEMEX, Mexico's state-owned oil company.
Mexican women are energized around the idea of nation. The idea of patria. I wrote my Master's Thesis on the "Idea of Nation." And to see the women, in their t-shirts and kerchiefs, so committed to their country, their nation, their identity. To them, that's Mexico's oil, natural gas, electricity, land, and water and it ought to be used by the Mexican people first and foremost for their own national development. But sadly, it's the public policy emanating from Washington, D.C. that threatens that.
Cynthia speaks to fundraiser in Los Angeles, Saturday, April 12th, 2008.
Cynthia's Remarks to Second Continental Conference of the Americas Against "Free Trade" and Privatizations
I am happy to be here in Mexico City where the people all over Latin America are on the move:
On the move for justice, self-determination, and peace.
I love that you have created a Power to the People movement with your votes that is stronger than the mightiest military force on the planet!
With the power of your vote you have taken your countries back.
Now, all we have to do is to count all the votes in the United States and Mexico!
Our country has been hijacked!
Condoleeza, Dick, and George lied to us and the Congress let them spy on us.
The Democrats in Congress chose to spend $720 million every day and make themselves complicit in war crimes, torture, crimes against humanity, and crimes against the peace.
$720 million a day can feed our hungry children, fund a way home for Katrina survivors, relieve families suffering from predator banks, and pay down on our national debt.
Now that race is on the table, introduce legislation to eliminate all the racial disparities that have plagued our country and our communities since slavery.
We're still waiting for a livable wage, single payer health care, students with an education free of exorbitant loans, and a return to the days when our country did good things and the world looked up to us.
Now countries crouch in fear of our next aggression!
Hands off Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador!
Hands off Haiti and Zimbabwe, and No war against Iran!
We want peace and justice now!
We must never give up! We must never give in! And we will use our vote to take our country back!
Cynthia McKinney seeks the Green Party nomination for President of the United States in 2008. She has been travelling around the country ... all » for several weeks and visited Houston and Austin in Texas on the beginning of a midwest tour. See her and hear what she has to say. She is being well received!